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Consider Your Surroundings

Monday, January 25, 2010

by Dr. Paul Chappell

"And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all the believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not speak any thing."

1 Thessalonians 1:6-8

What you say is useless unless your actions prove your words.

Perhaps the most beloved ruler in Danish history is Christian X, who ruled from 1918-1944. Not particularly commanding or benevolent to his people, Christian was not immediately well-received, yet he gained popularity for his acts of resistance during the Nazi occupancy of Denmark during World War 2. At a time when many nobles and rulers entered exile to avoid punishment by Hitler, King Christian remained on his throne, even though German soldiers patrolled his streets. Legend tells of King Christian's many defiant acts against Nazism and Hitler himself. Hitler once sent him a letter congratulating him on the occasion of his birthday. Rather than expressing extreme gratitude, Christian sent a reply that simply stated, "My best thanks, King Christian." Infuriated, Hitler then fired the Nazi Ambassador to Denmark and banished Denmark's representative in Germany. Another story of Christian's resistance of German influence is told about his daily rides through his city. Unaccompanied by guards or escorts, Christian would ride his favorite horse around town to visit the people of Denmark. He saluted citizens and took time to talk with them, but made a very clear point of not returning the salutes of Nazi soldiers. One soldier asked a young boy as King Christian rode by, "Why is he not guarded by soldiers?" The boy replied, "All of Denmark is his bodyguard."

Another way King Christian showed resistance toward Germany is found in a story passed down through many generations of Danes. King Christian was told to remove a Danish flag flying above a government building and replace it with a Nazi flag. Of course, King Christian refused by stating, "If you remove it and fly your flag, a Danish soldier will replace your flag with our flag." A German official retorted, "Then that soldier will be shot before he reaches the flagpole." King Christian replied, "He will not, because I will be that soldier." The Danish flag flew on the building for the rest of the German occupancy of Denmark.

King Christian was forced to allow Germans to invade his country (his army would have been slaughtered in any defense), yet he showed his people that he resisted the occupancy, and fought against it. His example spoke volumes during a time of unrest and fear. King Christian's example showed his people he was going to lead them through the difficult time. Christian knew that what he could not say with his mouth, he could speak through his actions.

We've all heard the phrase, "Actions speak louder than words," but no greater have they rung true than in the lives of Christians. As C.H. Spurgeon once said, "A man's life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching."

What you say is useless unless your actions prove your words. Words are easily spoken, but more difficult is obeying those words. King Christian could have said he defied the Germans, yet obeyed their every wish and his words would have been useless. In your life, your example speaks louder than your words.

If someone were to match up your words with your actions, would they be equal? In our world, many people have been "preached to"; they've heard of Christianity and been read Bible passages, yet they reject Christ. Often it takes a godly Christian living for God to show them true Christianity.

When others look at your life, do they see Christ? Sadly, many people focus on the hypocrisy that is in our world, and write off Christianity altogether. Yet how powerful is a life lived in service to God. Make sure you are following God and living to honor Him. Remember today the "cloud of witnesses" watching you, and determine to allow Christ to shine through your actions.

To learn more about the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church and Pastor Chappell, please visit lancasterbaptist.org, paulchappell.com, or follow him on twitter.

Daily Bible Reading
Exodus 12–13 | Matthew 16